Every three minutes someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer, like leukemia. For many of these patients, a marrow transplant could be their only hope for a cure. However, 70 percent of patients do not have a fully matched donor in their family. These people depend on Be The Match® to find a matching marrow donor for transplant. But more awareness is needed about the opportunity to become a marrow donor and potentially save someone’s life.
A celebration with national spotlight would raise awareness and showcase the powerful message and work of Be The Match. More importantly, it could provide hope for those patients who do not yet have a matching marrow donor on the national Be The Match Registry®.
Robin Roberts, cancer survivor, transplant recipient and host of ABC’s Good Morning America (GMA) was on the verge of celebrating her five-year marrow transplant anniversary. Padilla and Be The Match partnered to turn the occasion into an anniversary party of the ages.
Padilla and Be The Match pitched a celebration of Robin’s milestone anniversary to GMA, and after producers’ consideration, worked with GMA producers to coordinate a celebration of Robin, which aired on Sept. 20, 2017. We also secured a first-time marrow donor and transplant recipient meeting between 8-year-old A.J. and his marrow donor Alex, which was included in the segment. A.J. was diagnosed with leukemia on his 4th birthday and urgently needed a marrow transplant. Through Be The Match, A.J.’s doctors found Alex — a young woman who saved A.J.’s life by donating marrow.
In the 24 hours following the seven-part segment, 2,366 people joined the registry online as potential marrow donors, breaking Be The Match’s previous record for the most registrations online in a single day.